Revealing Israel's altered flag and the pulse of change

By Inbal Rief Ron

'Techquake' is my creative exploration that delves into the dynamic intersection of emotions and data, encapsulating Israel's evolving narrative. Playing with the transformative capabilities of Midjourney, the iconic Israeli flag morphs into a canvas where sentiments and statistical facts converge. 

Emotions revealed

I'm at a loss for words when it comes to these past eight months – the frustration, the fragility that seems to hang in the air. But maybe, just maybe, I can paint a picture that captures it. Imagine oceans of Israeli flags waving defiantly against the sky, like a sea of hopes and fears in motion. The air pulsates with the rhythm of steady drumbeats, a heartbeat of a movement that refuses to be silenced. 

"Democracy!" they shout! A rallying call that echoes through the streets. And then there are the red robes, a sight to behold. Just like a scene from a dystopian novel brought to life, as women don red robes and white hats in a powerful reenactment of "The Handmaid's Tale". They march, a sea of resilience against the backdrop of uncertainty. 

But it's not just about the visuals, it's about the clash of emotions that hang heavy in the air. Water cannons unleash their power, a symbol of the force that's brought to bear against the tide of dissent. And then, there's the police on horseback, a striking image of authority that's both intimidating and mesmerizing. Don't forget the protesters, who find themselves dragged off the ground, their determination unshaken even in the face of adversity.

This is just a glimpse, a mere taste of what fills these streets day after day, week after week. It's a tapestry woven with threads of passion, fear, hope, and defiance.

Amidst this chaos and fervor, something stirred within me. An idea – to capture all of this, not in words, but in an image. Only for that, I needed more than just a visual representation, I needed to understand the heartbeats behind those faces, the emotions that made this movement pulse with life.

So, I decided to ask just one question: "In the current moment, what's the most dominant emotion you're feeling? Share it in one word if you can." The responses came in, a mosaic of emotions that mirrored the complexity of these times.

There were 215 participants, and among them, 57 unique feelings. But five emotions stood out, not just as words on a page, but as windows into the collective soul – Fear, Anger, Worry, Anxiety, and Despair. These words painted a picture of unease and apprehension that that circled within the protests and discussions about judicial reform.

Yet, the colors of this emotional landscape weren't all dark. In the shadows, there were flashes of brightness. 'Excitement', 'Hope', and 'Love' emerged. These were the emotions that underscored the determination of a segment of the population, those who refused to let go of the belief in societal transformation.

And it's not just about age, but about the generations that carry these emotions. The youth brought their optimism and fire, a testament to their belief in change. The elders, well, they carried their wisdom and concerns.

'We mostly fear'
: The emotional landscape, featuring the top 10 emotions, reveals a diverse representation in the survey, with nearly two-thirds identifying as she/her and about one-third as he/his. Interestingly, the breakdown of emotions remains similar between genders, despite a higher representation of female participants. The photograph was captured by a protester who deployed a drone as he crossed to the other side of the highway, which had been blocked by the police force.

Photo credit: Omri Kedem

And just as emotions were unfurling, something unexpected came my way. A datafacts sheet – numbers that told a story of their own. High-tech investments, a key driver of Israel's economy, had plummeted by 75%. Those figures hit hard, a reminder that this movement wasn't confined to the streets, it had far-reaching implications.

So here I am, with this mix of emotions and facts, feeling their weight like a ticking clock. As I start my design, one thing becomes so clear – my image has to be a snapshot that can encapsulate the whirlwind of emotions and the stark reality behind that staggering 75% drop. I felt the need to use a protest symbol, one that can encapsulate the intensity of the ongoing tug-of-war between democracy and economy. That is my challenge...

Hey Midjourney, 

I've got a little artistic project
in mind, and I thought,
who better to help than you! 
I would like to put a unique
spin on the Israel flag, 
what do you say?

If only chatting with Midjourney were as smooth as that, but let's save that journey for another time! I wanted to share why it became my ultimate ally in this creative adventure and why the Israeli flag stepped into the limelight.

Why the flag? – For decades, the national flag kind of hung out with the far-right crowd, steering clear of the lefties. But, the tide of anti-government protests brought about a remarkable shift in its essence. It adopted a fresh aura, morphing into a symbol of dissent, a badge of opposition that resonated with people across the spectrum.  

And waving that Israeli flag? It is more than just a show of strength against the other side, it's about giving the flag an entirely new purpose. It became the megaphone for the protests, a unified outcry of 'We've had enough!' — this flag isn't about nationality any more, but it's about voting for democracy, including all civil rights of everyone — Jews, Palestinians, minority, or majority.

Why Midjourny? – It was my chance to enter the realm of generated photorealism. I wanted to capture both imagery and data as if seen through a documenting camera lens. With Midjourney, I sought to visually decode the intricate dance between sentiments and data, drawing from the bundle of emotions I collected through my survey and the startling fact of a 75% plunge in high-tech investments.

So, I picked both! 

Techquake unveiled

Ah, the path... marked by a multitude of prompts and meticulous graphic adjustments. Midjourney, a powerhouse in its own right, yet not without its challenges. Especially in this instance, when the goal was to bring forth a seemingly straightforward bar chart on the canvas of the flag.

Visual journey with Midjourney: 40 experiences of prompting. 

Now, the original Israel flag 🇮🇱 depicts a blue hexagram on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes. The colors order is: 
white | blue | white | blue | white. In 'Techquake' it is altered. The prominent blue tone has merged into a single narrow stripe at the bottom, while the dominant white hue now envelops 75% of the flag’s surface. This visual transformation serves as a poignant symbol of the drastic plunge. The narrowed blue stripe represents the mere 25% that remains of the once thriving investments. That's the bar chart actually.

Yet, beyond the flag's visually transformed narrative, lies a straightforward, or even banal stormy scenery that is highly communicative in presenting the emotional spectrum — anger, fear, worry, and more. This striking portrayal serves as a poignant reflection of the intricate sentiments that underlie this political saga. It encapsulates not only the data I meticulously gathered but also the emotional pulse that drives this narrative. 

Final transformation: Altered Israeli flag amidst the 'Techquake' storm 

Once a symbol of nationality, the flag now takes on a new dimension, embodying the ever-evolving reality we witness day by day. With each passing moment, 'Techquake' becomes a visual embodiment of change, both in data and in sentiment.

'Techquake': Social-media design

I can't express the emotional rollercoaster I felt & feel while working on this project. The controversy around the Israeli's
 flag and nationality adds urgency to initiating this dialogue. I wholeheartedly thank you for joining me in this journey of reflection.

It has to be transparent.